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28th ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL IN LOS ANGELES CELEBRATING WITH THE BEST OF ISRAELI CINEMA


 

28 Films to Premiere October 23-November 6, 2014 Highlights Include Opening Night Gala Honoring Producers Arnon Milchan, Mace Neufeld and Precedent-Setting Israeli Actress Dana Ivgy October 23rd at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills

Twenty-eight narrative and documentary films have been announced for the 28th Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles.  Reveling in its greatest popularity and acceptance both critically and commercially, these diverse Israeli features, thought-provoking documentaries and television shows will all be celebrated at the largest showcase of Israeli films in the United States.  The Festival runs October 23-November 6 at the Laemmle Music Hall 3 (Beverly Hills), Laemmle Town Center 5 (Encino) and Laemmle NoHo 7 (North Hollywood), with special events at the Steve Tisch Cinema Center in the Saban Theatre and the Writers Guild Theatre.  The programming was revealed by Meir Fenigstein, IFF’s founder and executive director, noting this year’s Festival showcases an extraordinary year in Israeli cinema.

As previously announced, two of the foremost and prolific film producers – who have the number one box office movie for the past two weekends – have been selected for special recognition.  Producers Arnon Milchan (Gone Girl) and Mace Neufeld(The Equalizer) will be honored on opening night with Milchan receiving the 2014 Israel Film Festival Visionary Award and Neufeld receiving the 2014 Israel Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award.  Additionally, renowned Israeli actress Dana Ivgyhas been named to receive the Israel Film Festival Cinematic Achievement Award for her amazing, unprecedented and extraordinary double whammy of a dual win at last month’s Ophir Awards, the Israeli film awards, where she won both the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress Awards for two separate, distinct feature films. 

Milchanfounder of New Regency Productions, is one of the most successful independent film and TV producers with over 100 feature film credits including L.A. Confidential, which he received an Academy Award® nomination for producing, and 12 Years a Slave the 2014 Academy Award®-winning Best Picture. His other credits include Pretty WomanThe War of the RosesJ.F.K., A Time to KillFree WillyThe ClientFight ClubAlvin and the ChipmunksMr. and Mrs. Smith, and most recently NoahGone Girl and Birdman starring Michael Keaton. Neufeldis one of Hollywood’s most respected producers. He has produced two of the industry’s most successful film franchises, The Omen trilogy and the four blockbusters based on the “Jack Ryan” series of novels by Tom Clancy, which included The Hunt for Red OctoberPatriot Games, Clear and Present Danger and The Sum of All Fears. His other credits include The General’s Daughter, No Way Out, Invictus, The Frisco Kid,The Saint and most recently Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and The Equalizer starring Denzel Washington.

Ivgy won her 2014 Best Supporting Actress honor with Next To Her, which will serve as the Opening Night Film at this year’s Festival.  A compelling drama about the triangle of two sisters – one mentally-challenged – and a man that enters their lives,Next To Her had its debut earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival Director’s Fortnight section.  Ivgy and the film’s producer, Estee Mecklberg, will be in attendance and later participate in a Q&A.

Additionally, this year the Festival will pay homage to producer Menachem Golan, who recently passed away.  On Thursday, October 30th, the IFF will host the U.S. Premiere of The Go-Go Boys:  The Inside Story of Cannon Films as the Festival’s Centerpiece.  This fascinating insider documentary about the two Israeli producers – Golan and his cousin, Yoram Globus - who turned the Hollywood power structure upside down, had its World Premiere in May as a Cannes Classics Selection at the Cannes Film Festival.  Moreover, in addition to the tribute screening, a panel discussion about the life and times of Golan will occur at the Writers Guild Theatre with those who have known and worked with the filmmaker.  A Q & A with the film’s Director, Hilla Medalia, will also occur. 

Other highlights of a wide-ranging schedule include a screening of the autobiographical documentary Life as a Rumor, which offers a celebration of the late Assi Dayan, son of famed Israeli General Moshe Dayan and one of Israel’s most prominent film directors and actors; and the extraordinary true story of Above and Beyond, produced by Nancy Spielberg. 

The largest group ever of actors and filmmakers from Israel will attend this year’s Festival, accompanying their films and participating in Q & A sessions, including

A Place in Heaven - Q & A with Actor Alon Aboutboul
Apples from the Desert - Q & A with Actress Moran Rosenblatt
Farewell Baghdad - Q & A with Director Nissim Dayan
The Go-Go Boys:  The Inside Story of Cannon Films - Q & A with Director Hilla Medalia  
Hill Start - Q & A with Director Oren Stern
Hunting Elephants - Q & A with Producer Ehud Bleiberg
Is That You? - Q & A with Director Dani Menkin and Actor Alon Aboutboul
Kicking Out Shoshana - Q & A with Director Shay Kanot
Magic Men - Q & A with Director Guy Nattiv
Next to Her - Q & A with Star Dana Ivgy and Producer Estee Mecklberg
Shtisel - Q & A with Producer Jonathan Aroch
Suicide - Q & A with Producer Shachar Zefania
Tubiasnski - Q & A with Director Riki Shelach
White Panther - Q & A with Director Danni Reisfeld
The Wonders - Q & A with Director Avi Nesher

“Israeli cinema is on a roll,” said Meir Fenigstein, IFF’s founder and executive director.  “For 28 years, we have been bringing the best of Israeli movies and documentaries to Los Angeles, but I must say the creativity, passion and depth filmmakers have been bringing to their projects lately has been amazing.  It truly warms my heart and gives me so much joy that we can help bring some of Israel’s incredible culture with the powerful medium of film to a vast and varied Los Angeles audience.”

All Israel Film Festival films will screen at the Laemmle Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills, the Laemmle Town Center 5 in Encino and the Laemmle NoHo 7 in North Hollywood. 

For nearly three decades, the Festival has presented over 900 feature films, documentaries, television dramas and short films to 950,000 filmgoers and brought hundreds of Israeli filmmakers to the U.S. to share their art.  The Israel Film Festival is produced by IsraFest Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization created in 1982.  Among the Sponsors of the 28th Israel Film Festival are long-time partners The IAC (Israeli American Council), Israel Film Fund, Eclipse, Clear Channel, Maurice Marciano Family Foundation, Bank Leumi USA, Four Seasons Hotel, The Beverly Hilton, IDB Bank, The Rabinovitch Film Fund, Adelson Medical Research Foundation, Montage Beverly Hills, New Regency Productions, Relativity Media and the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles.

ABOUT THE FEATURE FILMS

OPENING NIGHT FILM
NEXT TO HER (West Coast Premiere)
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Directed by: Asaf Korman
Chelli is the sole caretaker for her mentally-challenged sister Gabby. When Chelli begins a romantic relationship with the kindly Zohar, a fascinating triangle develops, as Chelli loses her grip on her vulnerable sibling.  This is an affecting and compelling drama about co-dependency and learning to let go. (90 mins. 2014)
Winner – Best Supporting Actress (Dana Ivgy) Israeli Academy (Ophir) Awards, 2014.
Selected for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival Director’s Fortnight, 2014.
Q & A with Star Dana Ivgy and Producer Estee Mecklberg

ZERO MOTIVATION (Los Angeles Premiere)
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Directed by: Talya Lavie
The biggest Israeli box-office smash of the year, this dark comedy portrays the power struggles of three female secretaries at a remote army base in the Israeli desert during the course of one year.  (100 mins. 2014)
Winner – Best Director & Best Actress (Dana Ivgy) Israeli Academy (Ophir) Awards, 2014.
Winner of the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival Best Narrative Feature award and the Nora Ephron Prize.

HILL START (U.S. Premiere)
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Directed by: Oren Stern
Israeli comedic-genius Shlomo Bar-Aba stars in this humorous drama as the head of a bourgeois family about to collapse under the weight of a tough father, a gentle son, an unmarried daughter, a comatose mother, a wedding, hot tempers, love, passion and vehicle operation. (90 mins. 2014)
Q & A with Director Oren Stern

APPLES FROM THE DESERT (U.S. Premiere)
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Directed by: Matti Harari, Arik Lubetzki
Rebecca is the only daughter of an Orthodox Jewish family living in Jerusalem. Unhappy with the reality of her life, Rebecca secretly exposes herself to the secular world. One day she runs away from her family to a kibbutz in the desert with a young man. (96 mins. 2014)
Official Selection – Haifa International Film Festival, 2014.
Q & A with Actress Moran Rosenblatt

FARWELL BAGHDAD (West Coast Premiere)
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Directed by: Nissim Dayan
Between the years 1950-51 close to 130 thousand Jews left Iraq. The most ancient Jewish community in the world ceased to exist.  Director Nissim Dayan’s first film in three decades is a daring and ambitious adaptation of Eli Amir’s Novel.  (Arabic with English Subtitles | 105 mins. 2013)
Q & A with Director Nissim Dayan

KICKING OUT SHOSHANA (U.S. Premiere)
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Directed by: Shay Kanot
In the conservative city of Jerusalem, Ami Shoshan an Israeli soccer player is forced by a mafia boss to pose as a homosexual, in punishment for flirting with the latter’s girlfriend.  Shunned by his teammates and fans alike, Shoshan nevertheless finds himself a hero of the gay community. (100 mins. 2014)
Q & A with Director Shay Kanot

IS THAT YOU? (U.S. Premiere)
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Directed by: Dani Menkin
A romantic road film about Ronnie, a recently-fired 60-year-old Israeli projectionist, who travels to the U.S. in search of the love of his youth.  Myla, a film student making a documentary about regrets, follows him and records his journey. (81 mins. 2014)
Best Picture nominee - Israeli Academy (Ophir) Awards, 2014.
Q & A with Director Dani Menkin and Actor Alon Aboutboul
 
TUBIANSKI (U.S. Premiere)
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Directed by: Riki Shelach
Veteran director Riki Shelach and esteemed author Michael Bar-Zohar vividly relate the remarkable true story of Meir Tubianski, an Israel Defense Forces officer, who in 1948 was investigated for treason, arrested, tried and executed – all in less than four hours.  Tubiasnski was subsequently found innocent of all charges. (84 mins. 2014)
Q & A with Director Riki Shelach

SUICIDE (U.S. Premiere)
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Directed by: Benny Fredman
This intense and suspenseful action thriller follows a young, successful lawyer who, in the course of one day has to commit the perfect crime in order to save her family from a psychotic loan-shark.  (130 mins. 2014)
Q & A with Producer Shachar Zefania

MAGIC MEN (Los Angeles Premiere)
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Directed by: Guy Nattiv, Erez Tadmor
The engaging story of an elderly Greek man and his Hasidic rapper son, who have been long estranged.  Together they travel from Israel to Greece in search of a magician who saved the father during World War II. The occasionally absurd journey forces father and son to confront one another. (100 min. 2014)
Q & A with Director Guy Nattiv

HUNTING ELEPHANTS (Los Angeles Premiere)
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Directed by: Reshef Levi
Entertaining caper film starring Israeli film legends Sasson Gabai and Moni Moshonov; and featuring a delightful comedic turn by Sir Patrick Stewart, this is the heartwarming story of a boy who conspires with three senior citizens to rob a bank in order to save himself and his mother from losing their house. (107 mins. 2013)
Q & A with Producer Ehud Bleiberg

A PLACE IN HEAVEN (Los Angeles Premiere)
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Directed by: Yossi Madmoni
A bold epic starring renowned Israeli actor Alon Aboutboul.  Forty years after a secular war-hero offhandedly trades his eternal soul to an army-cook in exchange for a hot meal; his religious son must race against time to find the cook and buy back his dying father’s place in heaven. (117 min. 2013)
Q & A with Actor Alon Aboutboul
 
THE WONDERS (Los Angeles Premiere)
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Directed by: Avi Nesher
Prominent director Avi Nesher charms audiences with this story about the complex relationship between a Jerusalem street artist and a mysterious, modern-day prophet being held prisoner in an abandoned apartment across the alleyway. (112 mins. 2013)
Q & A with Director Avi Nesher

WHITE PANTHER (U.S. Premiere)
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Directed by: Danni Reisfeld
Alex, a young Russian immigrant to Israel, joins a skinheads’ gang, led by his older brother.  An unexpected meeting with David, a Moroccan Jew, allows Alex to pursue his dream of becoming a boxer. Alex finds himself torn between two mentors. (89 mins. 2013)
Best Picture nominee - Israeli Academy (Ophir) Awards, 2013.
Q & A with Director Danni Reisfeld

UP THE WRONG TREE (West Coast Premiere)
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Directed by: Gur Bentwich
A restless and cynical bum, obsessed with wooing back his ex- girlfriend (and their beloved dog), finds himself, contrary to his anti- political and anti-everything attitude, stuck atop a tree overlooking her apartment and fearlessly leading an environmental battle against real-estate sharks, refusing to climb down even when bulldozers arrive. (90 mins. 2013)



ABOUT THE FEATURE DOCUMENTARIES

FAREWELL, HERR SCHWARZ (Los Angeles Premiere)
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Directed by: Yael Reuveny
The outcome of a decision made by a brother and sister in 1945 to reunite after war and their subsequent failure to do so.  This is a film about consequences which chronicles one missed meeting, two families, and three generations.  (96 mins. 2014)
Best Feature Documentary nominee - Israeli Academy (Ophir) Awards, 2014.

LIFE SENTENCES (U.S. Premiere)
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Directed by: Nurit Kedar, Yaron Shani
An Arab man marries a Jewish woman and they live in quiet harmony among the Arab-Jewish community with their son and daughter. The family unit is broken when they discover that their Arab father is behind dozens of terror attacks.  (82 mins. 2013)
Best Feature Documentary nominee - Israeli Academy (Ophir) Awards, 2014.

 DANCING IN JAFFA (Los Angeles Premiere)
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Directed by: Hilla Medalia
Internationally renowned ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine returns to his birthplace, Jaffa, to fulfill his lifelong dream of teaching Jewish and Palestinian-Israeli children to dance together. The children are forced to confront issues of identity, segregation and racism, as they dance with their enemies.  (85 mins. 2013)

THE KATZMAN TAPES (U.S. Premiere)
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 Directed by: Amnon Winner
Ironic and satirical mockumentary which maintains a serious façade as it relates the life story of the elusive Samuel Katzman and his non-recorded influence on the history of the State of Israel and the Zionist dream.  Shot over the course of a decade around the globe. (93 mins. 2013)

ABOVE AND BEYOND (Los Angeles Premiere)
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Directed by: Roberta Grossman
Produced by:  Nancy Spielberg
Telling the story of a group of World War II pilots who volunteered to fight in Israel’s War of Independence, this ragtag band of brothers turned the tide of the war, preventing the annihilation of Israel at the very moment of its birth. Filmed in the US, Israel and England, with special effects by Industrial Light & Magic, the documentary brings together new interviews with pilots from the '48 War, as well as leading scholars and statesmen, including Shimon Peres, to present an extraordinary, little-known tale with reverberations up to the present day.  (87 mins. 2014)

 

ABOUT THE TRIBUTE SCREENINGS/TELEVISION SERIES

THE GO-GO BOYS: THE INSIDE STORY OF CANNON FILMS (U.S. Premiere)
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Directed by: Hilla Medalia
Fascinating documentary about two Israeli-born cousins, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, who in pursuit of the American Dream turned the Hollywood power structure upside down and formed the most powerful independent film company in the world.  An up-close examination of two contradictory personalities whose combined force fueled their success and eventual collapse. (85 mins. 2014)
Cannes Classics Selection – Cannes Film Festival, 2014
Q & A with Director Hilla Medalia | A Tribute Screening to the late Menachem Golan
 
LIFE AS A RUMOR (Los Angeles Premiere)
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Directed by: Assi Dayan (creator), Adi Arbel (creator), Moish Goldberg (creator), Michal Eliav (writer)
An autobiographical documentary by Assi Dayan, son of famed Israeli General Moshe Dayan, and one of Israel’s most prominent film directors and actors.  Dayan witnessed the behind-the-scenes of all major political and cultural milestones in Israel’s history and had much to say about them in the daring films he made. (123 min. 2013)
A Tribute Screening to the late Assi Dayan

SHTISEL (Los Angeles Premiere)
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Directed by: Alon Zingman
Hit Israeli television show which garnered acclaim for its unorthodox portrayal of an ultra-orthodox Jewish family in Jerusalem. (90 mins / 2 episodes. 2013)
Best Drama Series - Israeli Television Academy Awards, 2013.
Q & A with Producer Jonathan Aroch
 

 

ABOUT THE SHORT DOCUMENTARIES

DO YOU BELIEVE IN LOVE? (Los Angeles Premiere)
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Directed by: Dani Wasserman
This entertaining and heartwarming documentary short follows Tova who is paralyzed because of muscular dystrophy; but as a successful Matchmaker, she tirelessly strives to find love for all who seek it. (50 mins. 2013)
Best Short Documentary nominee - Israeli Academy (Ophir) Awards, 2014.

SOUND OF TORTURE (U.S Premiere)
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Directed by: Keren Shayo
The moving and urgent stories of African refugees who, in their attempts to flee north to Israel, were captured by Bedouin smugglers in the Sinai desert, held in camps and tortured for ransom. (60 mins. 2013)
Winner – Best Short Documentary - Israeli Academy (Ophir) Awards, 2014.

THE STORY OF POOGY (West Coast Premiere)
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Directed by: Ofer Naim
The story of Meir “Poogy” Fenigstein, the drummer for Kaveret, Israel’s all-time classic rock band who would go on to found and produce the Israel Film Festival in the U.S.  As Poogy follows his artistic and personal dreams, he is contacted by his 18-year-old daughter – one he never even knew he had. (41 mins. 2013)
Q & A with Director Ofer Naim

POLE, DANCER AND A MOVIE (Los Angeles Premiere)
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Directed by: Isri Halpern
Without apology or a sense of victimhood, this dynamic film follows the founder of Israel's first pole dancing studio as she competes for the European title champion, while outspokenly challenging the very world she lives in no less than she challenges the one from which she came. (55 mins. 2013)
Best Short Documentary nominee - Israeli Academy (Ophir) Awards, 2014.



ABOUT THE SHORT DRAMA

A KNOCK ON THE DOOR (Los Angeles Premiere)
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Directed by: Eliran Elya
Based on a story by popular Israeli author Etgar Keret and featuring the final performance of the late Assi Dayan.  Into the life of a successful writer enters a foreigner who points a gun to his head and forces him to tell a story.  Further violence and absurdity ensue. (10 mins. 2013)
Best Short Drama nominee - Israeli Academy (Ophir) Awards, 2014.